Tags: Family | Life Loss

A Mother's Loss Leads to Unimaginable Despair

Monday, 15 December 2014 08:23 AM Current | Bio | Archive

I recently discussed with a caller to my radio show the most tragic situation for a mother — the loss of a child. For a parent, losing a child is worse than dying. Over the years I was in private practice, those were the cases I felt the most hopeless about helping.

The caller's adult daughter and the daughter's husband were killed in an automobile crash. Sudden and tragic. Their small child had not been in the car, and the grandmother, the caller, now had custody. This terrible event happened over a year ago, yet the woman sounded so pained you would have thought it happened yesterday.

As a mother of a married adult son, I could identify with how terrible that would be and how despair would overtake someone's life. I listened to her express all her pain and then simply agreed with her that every micron of feelings she had about this awful situation was totally justified.

There were two issues I brought up. The first, most obviously, was that her grandson was also suffering and needed her to be more functional. While she understood that on some intellectual level, it wasn't really on a gut level. I softly pointed out that this child was a part of her daughter — a part that was still very much alive; still needing, wanting, and loving her. That approach moved us forward just a little bit.

Cautiously I asked her, "Would your daughter be angry that you are spending so much of your day mourning her instead of enjoying her child?" She actually laughed a small laugh. "Yes, I guess she would. Yes, she would." "Well?" She actually relaxed a little.

I decided that it was time to take another leap. "What song can you sing with all the lyrics?" I asked. "Never mind if you can't carry a tune. It just matters that you raise your voice in song because that raises your spirit." She picked "God Bless America." Efim Shapiro, my engineer, is so fast on the draw he amazes me. Within seconds of her haltingly beginning to sing — and yes, she was as bad at carrying a tune as I am — he played the music under her and it was an amazing experience.

It was exhilarating to hear her rise from utter despair at the beginning of the call, to an uplifted feeling as she sang her heart out. It was so incredibly moving that I had tears streaming down my face — as did everyone who works on my radio program. I am sure the effect was the same on the listening audience as well.

When she finished, I asked her how she felt. She replied, "Much better." She even managed a little giggle. I told her to buy an iPod and fill it with music she loves and would sing along to. I further added that she should keep it on her at all times and by her bed at night, and when she feels that darkness cloak her, she should turn on the iPod with the little bud in her ear and sing as loudly as she could.

There are certain experiences in life that will always be with us; in this case, the tragic loss of a child. We frankly cannot imagine ever not having that pain in our hearts — and we would be right. Fortunately, there are elements in life that soothe the pain — and believe it or not, music is one of those miraculous elements.

Dr. Laura (Laura Schlessinger) is a well-known radio personality and best-selling author. She appears regularly on many television shows and in many publications. Read more reports from Dr. Laura — Click Here Now.

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There are certain experiences in life that will always be with us; in this case, the tragic loss of a child. We frankly cannot imagine ever not having that pain in our hearts — and we would be right.
Family, Life Loss
Monday, 15 December 2014 08:23 AM
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